JOURNAL ARTICLE

The cholesterol-lowering effect of guar gum is not the result of a simple diversion of bile acids toward fecal excretion

M L Favier, P E Bost, C Guittard, C Demigné, C Rémésy
Lipids 1997, 32 (9): 953-9
9307936
The effects of partially hydrolyzed, nonviscous, guar gum (PHGG) on cholesterol metabolism and digestive balance have been compared with those of native guar gum (GUAR) in rats adapted to 0.4% cholesterol diets. Both types of guar gum elicited acidic fermentations in the large intestine, but only GUAR effectively lowered plasma cholesterol (P < 0.001), chiefly in the triglyceride-rich lipoprotein fraction. The biliary bile acid excretion was significantly enhanced in rats fed GUAR (P < 0.05), as well as the intestinal and cecal bile acid pool (P < 0.001). In rats fed GUAR and to a lesser extent in those fed PHGG, the fecal excretion of bile acids and neutral sterol was higher than in controls (P < 0.01). The digestive balance (cholesterol intake-steroid excretion) was positive in control rats (+47 mumol/d), whereas it was negative in rats fed GUAR (-20 mumol/d), which could involve a higher rate of endogenous cholesterol synthesis. In rats fed PHGG, the steroid balance remained slightly positive. Liver 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA (HMG-CoA) reductase activity was very low (22 pmol/min/mg protein), owing to cholesterol supplementation, in control rats or in rats fed PHGG, whereas it was markedly higher (+463%) in rats fed GUAR. In conclusion, even if PHGG does alter some parameters of the enterohepatic cycle of cholesterol and bile acids, its effects are not sufficient to elicit a significant cholesterol-lowering effect. The intestinal (ileal or cecal) reabsorption of bile acids was not reduced, but rather increased, by GUAR; nevertheless the intestinal capacities of reabsorption were overwhelmed by the enlargement of the digestive pool of bile acids. In the present model, induction of HMG-CoA reductase probably takes place in the presence of elevated portal bile acid concentrations.

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